The legacy of John Broadus’ preaching shaped generations of Southern Baptist preachers. Armed with Broadus’ own commitment to the authority of Scripture, the alumni featured here took historic stands for biblical orthodoxy in decisive preaching moments.
John R. Sampey
Sampey joined the faculty in 1887 as assistant professor of Hebrew, Greek, and homiletics.
His inaugural address, “The Proper Attitude of Young Ministers toward Issues of the Day,” exhorted his fellow young ministers to engage thoughtfully their generation’s most pressing theological and social issues in order to better inform and lead their churches. In addition to his academic and administrative gifts, Sampey was well known as a vigorous evangelist with a heart for the nations. Between 1925 and 1928, Sampey took three summer vacations to visit his daughter’s family and former students serving in the South American mission fields. Sampey estimated that he knew of 1,700 persons who made professions of faith in Christ after hearing his messages during these summer preaching tours.
Edwin Charles Dargan
Dargan left a well-paying pastorate to join the faculty in 1892, succeeding Broadus as the seminary’s professor of homiletics. In the delivery of his inaugural address, “The Baptist Preacher for the Times,” he emphasized doctrinal orthodoxy as a prerequisite to pastoral ministry:
It is, alas, painfully worthwhile in these days to insist that a Baptist preacher must be orthodox. … Suffice it to say that the fundamental thing in such a position is to have a sound view of the nature and character of the source of theology, which is the Word of God. I wish to declare with all emphasis my conviction that no man should be admitted to the ministry, under the sanction of the Baptist denomination, who holds loose views as to the origin and authority of the Bible.
Criswell pastored the bustling First Baptist Dallas and was an alumnus of Southern Seminary’s doctoral program. Among all his sermons, his “Whether We Live or Die” address before the 1985 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference stands out as particularly memorable and influential. Delivered in the midst of the SBC’s conservative resurgence, Criswell warned that liberal views of biblical inspiration would lead to the spiritual ruin of every Christian, institution, and denomination that refused to hold faithfully to the inerrancy of Scripture. He explained in detail how the liberal shifts by John Clifford and Crawford Toy provided sobering precedents from which Southern Baptists should learn to avoid their mistakes. Only upon the foundation of belief in biblical inerrancy could Southern Baptists hope to be used by God to accomplish great feats in world evangelism.
Robertson was a world-renowned New Testament Greek professor and son-in-law of Broadus who also cultivated a reputation as an effective Baptist preacher. According to his own estimation, his greatest single evangelistic service occurred while visiting the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. Preaching to a large congregation of young people, he focused on the life of Jesus Christ, remarking, “I had no text. I told them the story of Jesus.” Moved by the Holy Spirit, he left the pulpit and began walking the aisles, pleading with the youth seated in the galleries to come to Christ. His earnest invitation yielded a harvest of 90 professions of faith.